Doer slams 'bogus' claim Canada using U.S. shutdown to get Keystone OK'd
Published Sunday, October 6, 2013 9:49AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 6, 2013 12:29PM EDT
A prominent Democratic fundraiser's claim that Canada is working with Republicans amidst the U.S. shutdown to get the Keystone XL pipeline project approved is "completely bogus," says Canada's ambassador to the U.S.
Gary Doer tells CTV's Question Period that Canada is working with both U.S. political parties. He dismissed a claim by American billionaire hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer, a vocal opponent of the Keystone project, that Canada lobbied Republicans to add the project's approval to its list of demands for ending the shutdown.
"We respect the process in the White House with the president's authority on presidential permits, we respect the technical work that is done at the State Department, which has really pointed to the advantages of moving ahead with this pipeline," said Doer.
Steyer has been working with opponents of Keystone, particularly on a series of ads denouncing the project over potential environmental impacts.
He fired his latest salvo on Friday in a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In it, he criticized the prime minister for telling a business audience in New York last week that "you don't take no for an answer" on a project like Keystone.
"This won't be final until it's approved and we will keep pushing forward," Harper told the Canadian American Business Council.
In his letter to Harper, Steyer asks if "your government, your government's lobbyist and/or agents representing TransCanada communicated with House Republicans about including Keystone in the original litany of demands put to President Obama?"
Steyer goes on to say that TransCanada is starting an advertising company that will produce pro-Keystone material aimed at Washington lawmakers.
"News of this advertising campaign comes in the context of House Republicans having closed down the U.S. government as well as threatening to oppose the extension of the country's debt limit unless certain demands were met," Steyer says.
"Included in the original list of House Republican demands was that the Obama administration grant approval for the building of the Keystone XL pipeline."
Harper's tough talk and the new ad campaign "raises questions of whether your office is working hand-in-hand with TransCanada to try to exploit the current situation in Washington, D.C., at the expense of the American people," Steyer says.
Doer dismissed Steyer's claims, saying: "All of his statements are intended to get publicity."
Canadian officials have spent a great deal of time in Washington in recent months in an effort to get lawmakers onside with the project, which would transport Alberta bitumen to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
U.S. President Barack Obama is not expected to go public with his decision on whether or not to approve the project until some time next year.
Doer said the project has support among governors of states that the pipeline would travel through, as well as many Washington lawmakers and a majority of the American public.
"The common sense of proceeding is so overwhelming," Doer said.